Back Bay hotel rooftop offers home to thousands of honeybees

BOSTON - It's not where you'd expect to find hoards of honeybees, but thousands of them call one hotel rooftop in the middle of Boston's Back Bay home.

The Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel has three hives on their rooftop, buzzing with bees.

Noah Wilson-Rich, co-founder of  Best Bees, a company that installs and takes care of the hives, says bees across the country are dying at a rate of about 40 percent a year. Wilson-Rich says their mission is to actively replace hives.

With bees dying at such a high rate, Wilson-Rich says supporting the bee population is absolutely crucial.

"Imagine if 40 percent of people died every year and they were food producing ones?" said Wilson-Rich. "I mean, it's a crisis, and we're seeing food prices go up."

According to Wilson-Rich, through beekeeping they've been able to monitor and track the bees and figure out where bees are the healthiest in the state. Their data shows Boston is the best place for bees in Massachusetts, due to the the city having about eight times more plants than nearby suburbs.

"It's the habitat, there's more plants in Boston," said Wilson-Rich. "There's actually eight times more plants in Boston than nearby suburbs. We found this out by testing honey at our client beehives."

The honey made on the hives at the Fairmount Copley Plaza goes into a product called honey butter, which is used at the hotel.

Lauren Soriano, the director of public relations for the hotel, says more than 40 Fairmont properties have bee hives managed by companies like Best Bees.

"Every few weeks they come check on our hives, make sure the queen is doing well and in return our bees are used in their research," said Soriano.

Boston, however, isn't the only city where you can find hives like these amid buildings and traffic. Best Bees has them in several cities, from New York to Denver to Los Angeles.